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Old 09-28-2005, 09:08 PM   #31
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Kind of related article in todays Sydney Morning Herald...


http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/b...804546995.html
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Old 09-28-2005, 09:21 PM   #32
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Blind faith is the new power base
September 29, 2005

Terrorism is the most dramatic manifestation of religious fervour, but it's just one way believers can skew democracy, writes Francesca Beddie.

THE Pope says Australia is a Godless country. I take that as a compliment. What use does the Antipodean state have for religion? Do we want to be divided like Ireland? Or too frightened to get on a bus like people in Tel Aviv? Or in constant vigilance for the Rapture?

The what? I was talking to a 15-year-old Quaker in Washington. "It's what those Bush-loving Christians believe in. The day the world ends and they are beamed up to heaven." He told me to look on the web. The Rapture nerds have a site where those who will be saved can organise to have an email sent to their sinner relatives left behind on Doomsday. How that'll help I'm not sure but, while they are still on this earth, it seems to offer solace.

The conversation continued over dinner with adults. They railed against the extremism of Christian fundamentalism, which wants to get Darwin banned from public schools; worried about the fabric of society in the wake of another conservative appointment to the US Supreme Court; were fearful of the consequences of massive US debt being bought by the Chinese; and opposed the war in Iraq.
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I left Washington more shaken than I had felt in Jerusalem, where another set of fanatics defies logic. Men clad in the black garb of 19th-century Poland shuffle through the Old City, in a hurry to get to the Wailing Wall, to show devotion to God. But as they move through the Arab quarter, there is no love for one's fellow man. Their movements are shadowed by Israeli soldiers armed with machine-guns.

So these are the chosen ones. Chosen for what? Eternal fighting over arid lands which only technology has made habitable? Chosen to pick the bits of modernity that suit? They carry mobile phones yet adhere so strictly to the Sabbath, when it is forbidden to cause a machine, kettle, lift or car to work, that the police close off their part of Jerusalem to dissuade drivers entering and invoking the wrath of the ultra-orthodox.
good reading
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Old 09-29-2005, 12:10 AM   #33
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It's the whole superiority complex, having God on your side. Whether you're the chosen people or have exclusive entrance into Heaven or whatever, not much difference. I understand how spirituality can help people through tough times etc, but I'm beginning to think more and more that organized religion is nothing more than a response to the human need to justify actions and hypocrisies by convincing themselves of superiority.
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Old 09-29-2005, 01:13 AM   #34
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what this thread really taught us is that if everyone were catholic we'd be a lot better off.
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Old 09-29-2005, 01:15 AM   #35
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Originally posted by Irvine511
...do not agree about Mother Theresa.

she exploited suffering.

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Originally posted by verte76
I don't understand this either. I do not think she was running for sainthood, I just think she was a really good person who helped suffering people.
Go to Amazon.com and read as many as you care of the 108 often sharply divided reviews of Christopher Hitchens' The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. That will acquaint you pretty well with the evidence for Irvine's perspective. Or read the Wikipedia bio, which is clearly indebted to his book.

I've traveled to India numerous times to do research, and on occasion I've spent a weekend or two visiting and volunteering at various charities, including one of Mother Teresa's Calcutta hospices. (You don't have to be Catholic to volunteer.)

I am all for questioning the efficacy of charities that don't call for poverty-reducing politics as part of their mission (and the example of Catholic activists like Dorothy Day shows there's nothing "un-Catholic" about that). And IMO Hitchens is right, as far as it goes, to question Mother Teresa's friendships and dealings with the likes of Charles Keating and "Baby Doc" Duvalier. Ditto for challenging her organization's lack of investment in improved medical facilities and equipment, despite its millions in donations.

BUT...and having seen some of this firsthand...I would also like to know A) what the fuck Christopher Hitchens has himself ever done to reduce suffering in India; B) since the answer to "A" is "Absolutely nothing," what right does he have to dismiss all the decades she spent housing, bathing and holding the sick and the dying just because he dislikes the ideological context of said care; and C) if Mother Teresa was all that fixated on sainthood, salvation and Catholic power, why did she spend so much money building mosques in her native Albania after the end of the Cold War, and why did she limit her religious ministering to the sick to administering a last-rites "baptism."

A flawed heroine is still very much a heroine, in my book.
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Old 09-29-2005, 09:52 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

Go to Amazon.com and read as many as you care of the 108 often sharply divided reviews of Christopher Hitchens' The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. That will acquaint you pretty well with the evidence for Irvine's perspective. Or read the Wikipedia bio, which is clearly indebted to his book.

I've traveled to India numerous times to do research, and on occasion I've spent a weekend or two visiting and volunteering at various charities, including one of Mother Teresa's Calcutta hospices. (You don't have to be Catholic to volunteer.)

I am all for questioning the efficacy of charities that don't call for poverty-reducing politics as part of their mission (and the example of Catholic activists like Dorothy Day shows there's nothing "un-Catholic" about that). And IMO Hitchens is right, as far as it goes, to question Mother Teresa's friendships and dealings with the likes of Charles Keating and "Baby Doc" Duvalier. Ditto for challenging her organization's lack of investment in improved medical facilities and equipment, despite its millions in donations.

BUT...and having seen some of this firsthand...I would also like to know A) what the fuck Christopher Hitchens has himself ever done to reduce suffering in India; B) since the answer to "A" is "Absolutely nothing," what right does he have to dismiss all the decades she spent housing, bathing and holding the sick and the dying just because he dislikes the ideological context of said care; and C) if Mother Teresa was all that fixated on sainthood, salvation and Catholic power, why did she spend so much money building mosques in her native Albania after the end of the Cold War, and why did she limit her religious ministering to the sick to administering a last-rites "baptism."

A flawed heroine is still very much a heroine, in my book. [/B]


pretty much said what i would have.

she's not all good, she's not all evil; she is, however, in my opinion, very much overpraised. and it still amazes me how someone can remain opposed to basic rights for women in the face of the slums of Calcutta.

going along with this train of thought, Ghandi was a huge racist. MLK was an adulterer.

should these things matter?

(perhaps meat from another thread)

but i'll post just a few quotes from an article written by Hitch:



Quote:
MT was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been—she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself—and her order always refused to publish any audit. But we have her own claim that she opened 500 convents in more than a hundred countries, all bearing the name of her own order. Excuse me, but this is modesty and humility?
Quote:
Many volunteers who went to Calcutta came back abruptly disillusioned by the stern ideology and poverty-loving practice of the "Missionaries of Charity," but they had no audience for their story. George Orwell's admonition in his essay on Gandhi—that saints should always be presumed guilty until proved innocent—was drowned in a Niagara of soft-hearted, soft-headed, and uninquiring propaganda.
Quote:
As for the "miracle" that had to be attested, what can one say? Surely any respectable Catholic cringes with shame at the obviousness of the fakery. A Bengali woman named Monica Besra claims that a beam of light emerged from a picture of MT, which she happened to have in her home, and relieved her of a cancerous tumor. Her physician, Dr. Ranjan Mustafi, says that she didn't have a cancerous tumor in the first place and that the tubercular cyst she did have was cured by a course of prescription medicine. Was he interviewed by the Vatican's investigators? No.

http://slate.msn.com/id/2090083/
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Old 09-29-2005, 11:17 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511


agreed about JC and MLK; do not agree about Mother Theresa.

she exploited suffering.
Yes! I never got why people fell all over themselves to suck up to her. I always thought she encouraged suffering so she could "help." I was never a fan of her's.
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Old 09-29-2005, 11:26 AM   #38
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Re: Re: Re: Re: belief in God harms quality of life on earth

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Originally posted by STING2


In any event, if you just focus on childern in private schools vs. childern in public schools, you will find far less social problems in the Catholic schools than in the Public schools.

You also must take into consideration that Catholic schools are private, which means they can pick and choose their students. They can also boot out underperforming or otherwise unsatisfactory students. Public schools don't have that luxury.

Also, I too went to Catholic high school (although I'm not catholic), and I notice that the people who went to that school are less religious that the ones who went to the local public school. Go figure.
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Old 09-29-2005, 07:59 PM   #39
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Further evidence that FYM has officially lost it.

:eyeroll:
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Old 09-29-2005, 08:49 PM   #40
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: belief in God harms quality of life on earth

Quote:
Originally posted by indra



Also, I too went to Catholic high school (although I'm not catholic), and I notice that the people who went to that school are less religious that the ones who went to the local public school. Go figure.
Around here, all the Catholic school girls are crazy.

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Old 09-29-2005, 09:03 PM   #41
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: belief in God harms quality of life on earth

Quote:
Originally posted by indra


You also must take into consideration that Catholic schools are private, which means they can pick and choose their students. They can also boot out underperforming or otherwise unsatisfactory students. Public schools don't have that luxury.

Also, I too went to Catholic high school (although I'm not catholic), and I notice that the people who went to that school are less religious that the ones who went to the local public school. Go figure.
Well, Catholic Schools and High Schools that I went to would usually take some of the worst students from public schools and make them into model students. Church attendence for friends in Public school was irregular, while friends at Catholic school were in Church every Sunday.
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Old 09-29-2005, 09:44 PM   #42
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Originally posted by nathan1977
Further evidence that FYM has officially lost it.

:eyeroll:


what prompted this comment?
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Old 10-02-2005, 09:22 PM   #43
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Interesting thread subject matter. Altho I do believe in God as a higher power, I don't consider myself religious, only spiritual in my beliefs and I am quite happy with that. I read the Bible, yet I feel organized religions are evil. I don't feel the need to go to a church to worship or save my soul or to be good and redeemed. I feel spirituality and belief should be individual and personal, and come from your heart and soul. Religion has been one topic that's ruined civilizations, caused war, strife, death. Seems it will never change.
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Old 10-02-2005, 10:55 PM   #44
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Originally posted by nathan1977
And consider the names below; scientists who were also Christians. (A partial list)

Sir Isaac Newton -- mathematician and physicist
Blaise Pascal -- generally regarded as a mathematical genius
Johannes Baptista van Helmont -- founder of pneumatic chemistry and chemical physiology
James Clerk Maxwell -- father of modern physics
George Washington Carver -- pioneer in chemurgy
Johannes Kepler -- discoverer of the laws of planetary motion

If you research these people's lives, the centrality of a belief in God to their worldview becomes evident. Indeed, it is this faith that leads to curiosity about the world around them. I would shudder to think where modern science would be without the faith that undergirds it.
And what about the great mathematicians of the middle east? Or the astronomers of old? What about the alchemists or the Chinese sciences?

Any scientist is motivated by his cultural background. Whether it be God(s), personal experiences, or just plain old secular curiosity. The mark of a good scientist is how much they keep their own beliefs from coming through in their work.

If anything, faith impedes scientific progress. Giving God(s) responsibility for a phenomena means that the faithful will stop investigating it (wouldn't want to question God(s)!) and the unfaithful will be ridiculed, ignored, and occasionally killed.

Invoking "faith" in any scientific discipline is a quick way to end up on the road, begging passers-by for grant money.

I think that a good measure of degeneracy is a society where a regulatory agency denies approval for a perfectly save emergency contraceptive. Contrary to the recommendation of the scientific advisory panel. In line with the administration's "faith-based" policies.
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Old 10-03-2005, 09:47 AM   #45
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Originally posted by Mongpoovian



If anything, faith impedes scientific progress. Giving God(s) responsibility for a phenomena means that the faithful will stop investigating it (wouldn't want to question God(s)!) and the unfaithful will be ridiculed, ignored, and occasionally killed.


The above statement is too dogmatic and simplistic, in my opinion. I'm a person of faith and the above it not at all true of me, as a social scientist. You'd do better to phrase it like "dogmatic faith" or "literalist faith" (ie, the world was created in 7 days"). Are you able to explain WHY giving God responsibility means investigation will stop? Faith is about the "why", not the "how". They are both important questions.

"Faith-based resistance" to contraception mystifies me, too, on your other point. In the age of AIDS, condoms are pro-life.
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